State of the Union- Thanks Republicans

I did not know how the Republican party will respond to the president’s State of the Union address.  Well I knew how, I was just not aware of the setting.  Imagine my surprise when I saw Virginia’s newly elected governor Bob McDonnell on the floor the state of Virginia House of Delegates with an audience of three hundred.  It looked like the Mini Me version of the State of the Union.  I get the Republican sentiment that the responder has a huge disadvantage when he/she follows the president.  Well guess what, he or she is supposed to be at a disadvantage.  Its the presidential State of The Union for fuck’s sake.  He is bound by the constitution to give is, like every other president.  The response idea is a political one.  Less than 60 years old, it came to life in the age of television.  It would not be so bad if he came in, did his thing and it would be over.  But no, it was exactly like  SotU.  He walked in, shook hands, they cheered, and cheered.  And Just like the SotU they cheered every few words during the speech too.  God!!!  I had to sit through of over an hour of this watching the president, every cliché got a standing ovation.  The less substance there was in the sentence the louder and longer the applause.  Same thing for the Mini Me version.  What was intriguing however was the make up of the Mini SotU room.  While the legislature was made up of mostly white men with a decent sprinkling of women, but the governors guests were interesting.  Now of course nothing in politics is left to chance, so the governor’s guests were placed in two rows on either side of him (and some elsewhere in the room.  One row was seated, one was standing, so we all could see them.  The four in the immediate vicinity to either side of him, were visible whenever the camera showed the governor, meaning for most of the time.  A young Black woman was in the second row to the governor’s left, in front of her sat a US soldier.  To the right an Asian man stood, in front of him we saw a young white woman.  There you have it folks, the Republicans are the party of all, not just old white men.  Something interesting happened during that speech.  When talking about education and getting opportunities no matter what one’s zip code is the camera switched during the applause that followed the “zip code” words.   It switched to a young black man.  Really?  We have a Black president, but this is what we still think and show?  Kind of sad, my wife was shocked seeing this.

So thanks Republicans for that, from now I am willing to bet both parties will be doing this shit, instead of a short speech with the party talking points we will get a show too.  Just so the responding speaker can look more important, once again politics shows its always flash over substance.  Do we really need this shit?  The Republicans would be better served writing a better speech and anticipating better the speech that Obama gave.  Many of McDonnell’s talking points were exactly what Obama said just a few minutes earlier.  Tax cuts, spending freeze, off shore drilling, nuclear power, education, ect..

A few words about the real State of the Union.  The obligatory guests were there, someone from Haiti, police personnel, a highly decorated soldier of course to show that Obama loves the military.  It was a good speech in my opinion.  I wont run through the details because most of you either saw it and/or were told what you think of it by the media.  The conservative pundits told you it sucked and gave imagined justifications.  The liberal pundits told you it was just awesome, hope and change are back, or whatever they imagined, depending on what channel you tuned too.  So I don’t need to tell you.  But as I said, I thought it was a good speech, great at monuments.  He was quite funny at times, ad libbing on a couple of occasions, like when he mentioned tax cuts and said to the Republican side “I thought I would get applause for that one.”  Was good stuff.  It was impassioned at certain stages, the man still knows how to read a speech.  He was defiant at times, honest when admitting to failures.  A high point was when he singled out the Supreme Court for their recent ruling on corporate campaign contributions.  The speech had bluster of course, Democratic talking points that they can use for the up coming midterm election.  But he dealt with the most pressing issues facing America, economy, education, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, energy, healthcare.  He called out the Republicans and called them what they are, a party of “NO.”   He also called out his fellow Democrats and called them out on their ineptness.  So he did well I thought, ended strongly with both words (not literally but in spirit) and form taken out of Martin Luther King’s book.  It was compelling, hopeful, American.  Well done Mr. President, now if only the state of the Union was as good as the State of the Union.

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